My Jaguar. Sadly not vintage

Jag vs. cow. An ongoing contest of epic proportions.

At times you might see me roll up in a Jaguar the color of the deep blue sea. It’s an old one but, sadly, not vintage. They practically give them away. I’ve herded cows in mine.

No, I’m not crazy.

Yes, I’m aware of the brand’s reputation for driving owners to the poor house. Or the nut house.Or one and then the other.

At least a half dozen times I resisted the urge to have one. But my heart—which throughout my life has often overruled my brain, persisted in saying “And have one, I must.” Kept whispering this into my ear, giving the lobe a nibble, knowing my eyes were unable to resist the crisp, sleek, sassy lines of those older Jags, and my soul unable to resist the flawless inviting leather; all the  buttons and lights, and the feeling of riding on rails smooth as ice.

In the beginning, the brain, perched at the other ear, would punch me in the shoulder to get my attention then screech “STOP! You fool! She’ll only bring you trouble! Resist temptation! Jaguars  are a path to ruin!” The brain would not to let the heart get its hands on the checkbook and the pen. And the soul would not let the eyes look back for one last time.

Years passed.

Sure, I’d notice if she happened by. I admit to looking longer than I should have until she disappeared, far ahead, from my view. I knew I had to let her go.

But I never totally forgot about that svelte, agile feline.

Self-consciously, she must have still been with me all that time. And, in my hunger to have her, I pursued succession of substitutes. Most of them flashy, five-speed convertibles. None of them totally satisfying.

More years passed.

My children moved out. I sold the place in town, built a smaller place in the boonies.

I put on a little weight. My hair thinned a little. White hairs started taking over my beard.

I began losing interest in a Miata I’d been driving lately. Other than mindless outings with the top town, there wasn’t much there. No poetry. No history. No art. No deep connection humming night and day, year ’round, regardless of the weather or the road ahead.

I was slowly taken over by that “running on empty” feeling. To tell you the truth, I slipped out one afternoon looking for a Roaster. Or something. I needed to fill my emptiness.

I had no idea what I was looking for, no idea what my options were.

I looked online, I went to car lots. Nothing. Getting desperate, I started cruising parking lots, a perv.

But nothing caught my eye. I was not only disappointed, I was alarmed. They all looked alike. Same sizes, same shapes, same colors. Yes, I panicked. Armageddon coming! I retreated back to the far to wait it out.

But no Horsemen came.

As always seemed to happen I then found my love at a time I wasn’t looking. There she was, on a corner, looking like no one else. We went out. I got a speeding ticket right away.

Sure, she was older and larger than what I was used to, but I’m older and larger too. An automatic, not five-speed, but my insurance company loves me for it. Requires more patience but I’ve got the time now. More expensive to keep but worth it—she speaks to me in ways others never could. And, yes, I think she’s sexy as hell, a sleek and sassy style the newer ones don’t have, could never understand.

And, of course, there’s that wonderful leaping cat up front, the shiny “sun wet” chrome a bursting energy that makes me, at middle age, feel like I’m jumping through a fiery hoop of time.

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–Tim Bryant
Author of Blue Rubber Pool
Surf Director at Pineapple Hill